How to Buy & Wear a Wig
Finding a wig doesn't have to be overwhelming. If you are losing your hair due to cancer, alopecia, chemotherapy treatments or other medical conditions, or if you simply want a new look, this buying guide will help you to choose the right wig for you.
The encouraging news is that no one will be able to tell that you are wearing a wig. What typically happens when you wear your wig for the first time is that you will start receiving lots of compliments on your new haircut. If you have always wanted a different hair style or color, there couldn't be a better time to experiment. Maybe you have always wanted to be a redhead. Or maybe you always wished your straight hair had curls. With wigs, the options are limitless.
Although many women do not choose to wear wigs by choice, they do find that there are unexpected benefits. One is that your morning routine is simpler. You will also save money on hairstyling, cuts and coloring. You will never have a "bad hair day." If you want to learn how to buy a wig online or simply want to know where to buy a wig, this comprehensive guide will answer all of your questions.
Just like shopping for clothes, you want to start by browsing in the right size or section of the store. If you are 5'10" tall and you are shopping in the petite section, it will inevitably be a frustrating experience. Therefore, the first step in selecting a wig is to determine your head size.
For women’s wigs, there are 3 basic sizes: Petite, Average and Large. Because most women wear an average sized cap (90-95%), there will be more style choices if your head size is average. For those who do not wear an average, the majority will wear a petite cap. A small percentage of women will wear a large cap. To achieve accurate measurements, it is best to have someone else help you. The tape measure should be snug but not tight or pulled when the measurements are taken.
To measure the circumference of your head. you will be tracing around your hairline. To begin, take a flexible cloth or seamstress measuring tape. Starting at your forehead, trace all the way around your hairline, behind the ears, to the nape of your neck and back behind your opposite ear to meet the end of the measuring tape in front.
The majority of the time, using the circumference of your head will give you an accurate indication of size and you can stop with the first dimension. If your size didn't match your expectations, you may also choose to take a front to back measurement. To do so, run your finger up the center of your forehead until you touch the roots of your hair. This is where you will begin your measurement. Next, starting at your spine, run your finger up your neck until you touch the roots of your hair. This is where you will end your measurement. Run the measuring tape from the starting point to the ending point over the top or crown of the head. Use the following dimensions as a guideline:
Our wigs come with an adjustable strap that allows you to get a customized fit within the range. If your wig does not feel right when you first put it on, try adjusting the straps.
Step 2 is to decide what hair type you would like. You have three choices:
Many cancer patients come to us wanting a human hair wig. Human hair wigs offer the same styling versatility of real hair. This feature is both the pro and the con of a human hair wig. Because human hair wigs are made of real hair, they require much more maintenance, styling and upkeep. Without the natural oils from your scalp to condition the wig, they can get dry and brittle without proper maintenance. Just like your own hair, they will lose their style in the rain or humidity and must be restyled. They are also much more expensive than synthetic wigs. For this reason, we don't generally recommend human hair wigs for cancer patients or first time wig wearers. When you are not feeling well, one of the great benefits to a synthetic wig is that your hair always looks good with almost no effort. With so many things to worry about, we recommend simplifying your routine as you go through treatments. This being said, if you want the versatility of a human hair wig, we have many to choose from. Human hair wigs can last a year or more (if worn daily) with proper care.
Many people who have not seen a high quality synthetic wig think that they need a human hair wig to get a natural look. This is simply not the case. High quality synthetic wigs (like the ones we carry) will be virtually indistinguishable in appearance from a human hair wig. Synthetic wigs have the benefit of retaining their shape, so they require very little styling. Simply spritz the wig with a spray bottle of water and the hair will return to their original style. The negative to synthetic hair is that it cannot be exposed to heat sources as it will permanently damage the fibers. This means that care must be taken when putting your casserole in the oven or barbecuing. It also means that you cannot use a curling iron, flat iron, hair dryer or other heated styling tools on the wig. Synthetic wigs typically last from 4-6 months (if worn daily) with proper care. Keep in mind that most women do not wear their wig every day.
Heat Friendly Synthetic Hair
Synthetic wigs that can be styled with heated styling tools (maximum temperature of 350 degrees) are known as "Heat Resistant Wigs". They allow you to change the look from curly to straight. For women who find it important to have this versatility but do not want a human hair wig, a heat friendly synthetic wig may be a good option. One negative to heat friendly synthetic wigs is that the hair can be a little more difficult to style than human hair. If (when wearing the wig) the hair is pressed against the back of a chair or pillow for a period of time, it can become matted around the nape area. Using your flat iron or curling iron on a very low setting can restore the shape if this happens. Average life span is 3 months if worn daily. If you only wear your wig occasionally this will of course extend the life span.
For more information on selecting your hair type, see our guide on Human Hair Wigs vs. Synthetic Wigs.
There are four basic types of wig caps:
These are machine made wigs with traditional wefted rows of hair that are sewn together. Most of our classic wigsare "capless," allowing your head to breathe. They will have teased fibers at the hair roots to conceal the cap underneath. Due to the construction, the part is stationary and therefore classic wigs will offer less styling versatility. Classic wigs provide a very natural and affordable look that has stood the test of time.
More expensive than classic wigs, monofilament wigs go the extra step to make your hair look completely real. Each hair is individually placed on a transparent mesh cap (instead of in rows), making it look like your real hair is growing from your scalp. Monofilament wigs are ideal for cancer patients or women with full hair loss due to alopecia or other conditions. They are truly convincing replications of your natural hair growth. The part can be moved, allowing greater styling versatility. Monofilament wigs will have varying amounts of monofilament construction. Most feature this construction on the top of the cap only.
Hand Tied Caps
Another step up, these are monofilament wigs that are typically sewn on a very soft piece of lace fabric. Unlike regular monofilament wigs, the entire cap features hand tied construction, providing the most natural look possible.
Lace Front Wigs
Lace fronts can be on classic caps, monofilament caps or hand tied caps. Lace front wigs feature individually tied hairs on very fine lace around the hairline. This allows you to pull your hair back from your face for a natural look.
For more information on Cap Types, please see our guide on The Different Types of Wigs.
Once you have decided on your size, hair type and cap type, now you can have fun. Browse through our short, chin length, medium length and long hairstyles to find your favorite online wigs. For women who have very long hairstyles before their hair loss, it is often best to go a bit shorter. A shorter wig will be easier to manage, and less of a transition once your hair begins to grow back.
It is important to choose a style before you choose a color because each wig will only come in a selection of colors from the full color range. Many women worry that if they don't start with color, they won't find the right color. Do not worry. Each wig comes in a large selection of colors and there will most likely be a suitable color in any style you choose.
If you would like to match your style to your existing hair, detailed length measurements are included with our wigs. Measuring your own hair lengths before you lose your hair can provide helpful information as you make your selections.
For helpful information on choosing a wig style that is flattering for you, visit our Wig Style Guide.
Each wig comes in a selection of approximately 30 colors of the 600+ unique wig colors we offer. For this reason, it is impossible to choose your wig color until you have selected your style. Most individuals find that it is best to match their natural hair color. If you are experiencing hair loss, it is very helpful to cut a locke of hair for color matching to your wig. We always recommend that our customers take advantage of our free expert consultations. Many of our customers choose to send us hair swatches, allowing our experts to help them select an ideal color match.
Our online hair swatches are small samplings of the full wig color. Like all swatches, they only give you a small representation of what the color will look like. To fully understand how a color will look, it is better to see it on a full wig. One tool in selecting a color is to browse through our website looking only at the colors the wigs are pictured in. (At this point, you are ignoring the styles and looking only for colors you like). Jot down several colors and styles. During your complimentary color consultation, we will compare the online photos to our in store hair swatches that are available in your online wig style.
There are a number of other useful tools we utilize in assisting our customers. For example, instead of hair swatches, customers will frequently send us photographs. If you would like to try and to select your wig color on your own, we recommend looking at other wigs in the brand you have selected to see which styles are pictured in colors you are considering. This will give you a better visual of the overall color.
If you are torn between two color options, we recommend choosing the lighter hair color. Chemotherapy treatments can wash out your skin tone. Your skin tone can develop a greyish, greenish or yellowish tone. A darker shade will provide more contrast, accentuating a paler complexion; a lighter color will soften the effect for a more flattering look.
For more helpful information on selecting your wig color, please see our complete Wig Color Guide.
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